The Meadow is On My Plate
May 1, 2015
May Day. National holiday.
Andiamo alla campagna! One and all to the countryside!
Heading for the hills on May Day is one of those unwritten Sicilian rules, like the one that requires you, when hanging out your wash, to clip each sock at the toe and hang it neatly next to its mate.
So off we go.
And there we find: bygone lanes, farmhouses with braying dogs, fields of ripe artichokes.
But why we’ve really come is to forage for wild food. We rummage in meadows, like old-time peasants. Look! There’s asparagus, lassini and malva!
This goes on for hours.
Lassini–you have to pick these stems before they flower. It’s already too late to eat this particular plant but we find lassini plants in the shade that have not yet flowered.
Malva–you eat the leaves, not the flowers. It’s such an ancient food that Horace mentions it: Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea levesque malvae (As for me, olives, chickory and malva provide sustenance.)
When hunger hits, we pull down green almonds and pop the whole fuzzy thing in our mouths. I make a sour face and am admonished for my timidity.
Twenty minutes after arriving home, the meadow is on my plate.
It’s getting cold, so I will bid you buon appetito and arrivederci.